19 August 2013
Statement by Seyed Mohammad Ali Mottaghi Nejad Member of the delegation of the
Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations under the agenda item
“Protection of civilians in armed conflict”
before the United Nations Security Council
19 August 2013, New York
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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
I would like to thank you for convening this open debate on the “Protection of civilians in armed conflict”. Today coincides with the tenth commemoration of the attack on the UN compound in Baghdad. My delegation joins others in paying tribute to UN staff including Sergio de Mello who perished in this brutal and merciless terrorist attack.
The present conflict and violent situations around the world, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa indicate that civilians are still suffering in massive numbers. Despite some of the progress on the issue of civilian protection, there have been some failures as well. A large part of the shortcomings in this field is due to the double standards and injustices in dealing with different situation of armed conflict, including the situation of territories under foreign occupation, as well as the fundamental failure of parties to respect the principles of international human rights and humanitarian law. This double standard becomes more visible in the fight against impunity and accountability for the most serious crimes.I would like here to refer to crimes committed by the Israeli regime against civilians in Palestine. It seems that this regime while agitating the crisis in the Middle East continues to base its policies on putting blames on others and enjoys impunity. No need to mention that this regime, with its brutal and killing apparatus, is notorious in targeting the civilian populations. The mass killing of civilians in Gaza and other occupied territories with the most dreadful and sophisticated arms including poisonous, white phosphorous and cluster bombs are just part of the crimes committed by this regime. In this way the Israeli regime excluded great number of innocent people from the jurisdiction of international law as if these people do not deserve the protection as required under the Geneva conventions and international law. One and half million Palestinians in Gaza are deprived of all their basic needs of life and of humanitarian assistance. Gaza has continued to be the largest prison kept by the Israeli occupying authorities. We add our voice to the call raised this morning by Madam Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights that “the illegal blocked of Gaza Strip imposing restrictions on the enjoyment of fundamental rights must be lifted. Freedom of movement throughout the occupied Palestinian territory should be ensured.” It is expected that through ensuring accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, and ensuring justice for victims our efforts for the protection of civilians would be translated into meaningful and practical actions.
The Secretary-General in his written reports and his statement today has emphasized the necessity of enhancing compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law and enhancing accountability in the protection of civilians. In some conflicts to a large degree the accountability particularly regarding the extremist and terrorist groups is the absent factor that paves the way for further violations. In some instances the terrorist attacks are targeting religious and sacred places and pilgrimage sites with large number of fatalities among pilgrims and innocent people. The Security Council should take measures in preventingsuch crimes against civilians. Furthermore, due attention should be paid to the root causes of conflicts in order to ensure durablepeace and stability. The root causes behind many conflicts are poverty, exclusion and marginalization, foreign interventions and military excursions and occupation. We are sure that the respectable members of the Security Council consider these elements as extremely important elements for the credibility of the Council.In addressing the sufferings of the civilians in the armed conflicts the Council should take stock of these causes and seek a balanced solution in resolving the conflicts. Justice demands that the perpetrators of the crimes be prosecuted and brought to justice. Let us hope that this open debate to be an opportunity to assess the ways and means on providing better protection to civilians in armed conflict situations.
I thank you Mr. President for your attention.